AN ARTIST whose work can be spotted throughout Northwich town centre is holding his first exhibition at the end of the month.

Jim Stanley’s acrylic paintings hang in the Penny Black pub, Bruschetta cafe and Costa Coffee, to name but a few.

These stem from the summer of 2005 when the Rudheath dad-of-one was the resident artist outside Bruschetta, in Brunner Court, painting Northwich scenes and buildings.

His new exhibition, which takes place at the Visual Arts Cheshire (VAC) Gallery, in Brunner Court, from January 17 to 25, is a little different.

Called ‘After Leonardo (But I Haven’t Caught Him Yet)’, this exhibition includes Italian scenes and portraits of his friends and colleagues in a Renaissance style.

Jim, a teacher at Adswood Primary School in Rudheath, said: “I had been to see a Leonardo da Vinci exhibition and I was sat in assembly, looked across at one of my colleagues and thought she looked like a Renaissance princess and asked her if she minded me doing a picture of her in that style.”

Jim has now depicted an array of teachers, caretakers, dinnerladies, cleaners and classroom assistants in the styles of Renaissance artists da Vinci, Botticelli and Rembrandt.

“I’m trying to reach out and do something different,” he said.

“I want to do things that people don’t expect and I’ve been searching around for a while for a space to exhibit.”

Jim trained in fine art in the 1970s but then became an English teacher – with his first job at Rudheath High School from 1976 to 1988.

He let his artistic talents lie until 2005 when, as a supply teacher, he had a little more time on his hands.

He said: “A guy called Nico from Bruschetta said ‘come and paint outside the cafe like they do in Italy’ and I thought ‘you must be joking’ but the summers of 2005 and 2006 were beautiful and it was really good to do it outside.

“A lot of people got to know me from then – I have paintings in the Penny Black, hairdressers, barbers and Costa Coffee, there are bits of me all over Northwich.

“I’ve been pretty fortunate in that opportunities have arisen and I’ve managed to do it.”